Pharma Tech Outlook Cover Story: Flagship Biosciences – Accelerating Drug Development

As one of the industry’s leading tissue data and image analysis services providers, Flagship Biosciences was recently selected as a Top Image Analysis Solution Provider for 2020. With advanced tissue image analysis solutions that give pharmaceutical and diagnostics clients distinct advantages, Flagship acts as the scientific bridge between therapeutic development and real world results to accelerate the process of drug development and clinical diagnostics.

Flagship Biosciences offers an end- to-end tissue analysis service, starting with specimen collection, slide prep, in situ assay, scanning, and image capture, all the way to tissue image analysis, pathologist review, tissue data analytics, and custom reporting. The company’s proprietary technology delivers high-quality tissue data, using exclusive, cell-based analysis processes.

As Flagship CEO Trevor Johnson shares in the article, Flagship Biosciences’ identity runs deeper than its solutions, with a very hands-on, end-to-end approach to working with their clients.

“We are more than just a technology company,” said Johnson. “We are a services company – a combination of technology, an expert multi-disciplinary team of pathologists, biologists, analysts, software engineers, and technicians who are committed to helping create life-saving drugs.”

Flagship’s technology takes tissue context, in digital form, to measure how different cell types, particularly immune cells and tumor cells, interact and change on a patient-by-patient basis.

“Flagship Biosciences can show real world evidence that demonstrates an effect, the way and where you’d want to see it,” said Johnson, in the article.

He provided an example, that if a company is developing a drug to boost the immune system for an oncology application, Flagship Biosciences can show that the drug is increasing the number of macrophages within the tumor nests that are being targeted.

The article continues to share insights on the elements that make Flagship a Top Image Analysis Solution Provider for 2020.

Human tissue analysis is an extremely vital discipline that helps pharmaceutical scientists and drug developers explore the very nature of human pathology. The role of this analysis varies depending on the type and stage of drug development. At its most fundamental, it is used to verify if a drug in development will achieve its intended (or unintended) objectives. The processes associated with tissue image study and examination are incredibly complex, with challenges at every step of the process. The analyses must be able to reveal evidence of the drug’s efficacy or enable patient selection for each specific drug, to make it successful.

Flagship Biosciences’ analysis platform can also be used for both existing and novel diagnostic testing, using highly precise and accurate measurements, to deliver more detailed results. The company collects an enormous amount of data under the supervision of pathologists, while adhering to College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) standards, to produce better diagnostic results for patients.

Flagship Biosciences’ cell-based image analysis technology provides improved results over the variability implicit within traditional, pixel-based image analysis. Flagship’s clients have access to one of the most accurate tumor and immune cell identification services in the world.

Flagship’s process includes industry-leading image analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and every sample is reviewed by a human pathologist who has final say on accuracy. “We always use the highest level of review, which is by the pathologist- the gold standard in pathology, on every single sample we run,” says Johnson.

The company can receive digital images of the samples from across the globe, run the analysis remotely, and send back results, including the Flagship pathologist’s analysis and review of the resulting data. Clients with prospective clinical trials, where individual patient data is used to make an enrollment decision, or those needing clinical diagnostic testing at the Flagship Biosciences CAP/CLIA lab, can get additional insights into diagnostic biomarkers from a digital image.

The company is always improving and adapting its technology to the of the pharmaceutical development space. Flagship Biosciences is also building out its clinical diagnostics capabilities. The company’s long-term goal is to be the world leader in digital tissue diagnostics.

“We want to have a digital analytical version of almost every manual pathology biomarker test to give a more accurate, precise, and informative result. To maintain the highest level of precision, we will ensure that a pathology team supervises all results to give patients the best testing possible,” said Johnson.


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